BEIJING, Aug 28 (Reuters) - China Telecom has received government approval to test its 4G high-speed network in a total of 40 cities, up from 16 previously, the carrier said Thursday.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which allowed China Telecom to test its new LTE hybrid network beginning in June, approved 24 additional trial cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Xiamen.
China Telecom’s 4G network is expected to provide a significant boost to Telecom’s business as subscribers sign up for the faster and costlier service.
The carrier also hopes to recoup subscribers lost to China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier, which obtained its 4G license in December and already boasts 20 million 4G subscribers.
China Mobile received what amounted to a significant head start in its 4G roll-out because regulators had previously green-lighted its TD-LTE network technology.
Telecom, which had 180 million subscribers in August, and Unicom, which reported 296 million subscribers, both use networks that incorporate both LTE FDD and TD-LTE technology.
Earlier this week China Telecom posted its slowest quarter of net income growth in six quarters and said it would not pay an interim dividend as uncertainty around 4G licenses and regulatory policy bit into its bottom line.
Chairman and Chief Executive Wang Xiaochu, who has stated a target of rolling out 4G to 50 cities by the end of the year, said in the earnings release the company “faced unprecedented uncertainty” due to factors including 4G regulatory policy and value-added tax reform. (Reporting by Gerry Shih; Editing by David Holmes)